ISLAMABAD: A bill seeking to increase the number of women on the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) failed to garner sufficient support in the Senate Standing Committee on Law and Justice.
The bill, moved by Senator Sehar Kamran, had followed a unanimous resolution of the Senate on increasing women participation in CII on November 21, 2016.
The bill had been presented on the floor of the house on August 21, 2017, calling for amendments to Article 228 of the Constitution to raise the number of women on the council from one to comprising a third of the minimum eight and maximum 20 members. However, the house had referred the bill to the committee for review.
Apart from seeking to increase the number of women on the council, the bill also called for inserting a new clause which states that “for the purpose of the quorum for meetings, at least one-third of women members shall be present”.
However, the amendments could not find sufficient support of the committee.
Senator Kamran stated Article 228 of the Constitution in its current form only allows for one female member. This, she argued, needs to be amended to at least a third.
Explaining the need for more women on the council, she said that the as there is a dire need for consulting women, especially on matters relating to women. She pointed towards examples from Islamic history where women were consulted on religious affairs all the way from the time of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
Terming the rejection as a “sad day” for women in the country Senator Kamran said that their voice has once again been repressed by the government.
She also criticised the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) led government for not allowing private member bill to pass the house, causing hindrances even when issues of such significance are presented.
The senator said that it was disappointing to see legislators failing to develop consensus on an issue vital to women representation in the CII.
“For how long we will keep the female voice out of the decision-making processes which equally affects almost half the population,”
Published in The Express Tribune, October 3rd, 2017.